Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Roger Keith Burns and Diane Anglin divorced in 1985. Burns was ordered to pay $500 per month for the couple’s two children (though this amount was eventually increased to $700 per month). For a one-year period in 1988 and 1989, Burns did not pay child support and a master recommended Burns pay $2,550 in arrearages. Burns paid some, but not all. In 2001, Anglin filed a motion for cumulative judgment for past due child support and medical expenses, particularly orthodontic fees. The trial court denied this latter request, but nonetheless ordered Burns to pay $12,139 in past child support, as well is $10,800 in attorneys’ fees. At trial, Anglin and the Bexar County Child Support Collection Office compiled a chart that listed payments due, dates payments were made and the total arrears, including interest. Burns did not object to the introduction of this evidence as a general summary of what was owed and what had been paid. The total amount of arrears and interest as contemplated by these records was $26,838, which gave Burns one month’s credit for the period of time when the couple’s son lived with him, though the couple disagreed over how long this period was. In response, Burns presented several affidavits, but had no specific evidence of payments made or the dates they were made. He also presented evidence that his son lived with him longer than what Anglin said. He concluded he owed Anglin nothing. After the trial court’s verdict, Burns filed a motion for new trial. He claimed that there was newly discovered evidence in the form of cancelled checks showing some of his payments but the trial court denied the motion. Burns challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court says that there is more than a scintilla of evidence to support the trial court’s finding, which was within the range of arrears set forth by the parties’ evidence. In addition, the evidence is factually sufficient. The court upholds the denial of the motion for new trial. The court finds that even if it assumes that the “new” evidence Burns says meets the standard needed for a new trial, there is evidence that the trial court already had considered it. In fact, the trial court made a specific finding as to which of the checks were to be added to Burns’ total child support paid, and which had already been credited to him. Though Burns raises a judicial estoppel claim regarding exhibits that would allegedly contradict Anglin’s testimony, the court finds Burns failed to object to the admission at trial. The court finds the evidence sufficient to uphold the possession credit Burns got for the time his son lived with him. The court determines that the amount of attorneys’ fees was reasonable and supported by the record. Finally, the court holds that it was not error for the trial court to deny Burns’ request for attorneys’ fees, which was based on his assertion that Anglin’s case was frivolous; Burns argued that Anglin should have been sanctioned for her claims for medical and dental expenses. “Because Anglin introduced evidence supporting her claims for medical and dental expenses at trial, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to impose sanctions for a groundless pleading.” OPINION:Green, J.; Lopez, C.J., Stone and Green, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.